St. Andrews Links (Castle)
It isn’t located within town and it isn’t even really a links course, certainly not from the same mould as the other six anyway.
It recently received particularly strong criticism from respected architect Tom Doak in a recent publication and others may also question why this course needed to be built. The fact that the St. Andrews Links Trust themselves refer to it simply as their ‘seventh’ course doesn’t really help its cause either.
The other way to look at it is that this David McLay Kidd course, which opened for play in 2008, actually offers a welcome change from the classic, traditional links golf on offer at the other locations. And importantly, in my eyes anyway, if the course is good (and it is) why should it not have been created? I’d rather have it the way it is now than it still be farmland like it was before.
Although it’s a ten minute drive from town the actual setting is nothing less than spectacular, perched on a rugged cliff-top, with stunning views overlooking St. Andrews. It has its own clubhouse and there is plenty of parking.
I personally thought the golf was exceptionally good too and I really enjoyed the course. The green contouring has had a lot of negative comments but I found them to be perfectly acceptable, indeed rather fascinating. There are certainly some significant borrows, putting on them can be tricky and challenging but they fit in well with their surroundings and again, like the layout itself, they make for a refreshing change.
A number of holes play along the coastline, at times perilously close to it, and a number of greens have wonderful backdrops. In my opinion the sixth is a great golf hole but there are many others that may take your personal preference.
The walk is much more demanding than the other links; at times it’s positively hilly. The bunkering is dramatic and this is not an easy course, a par of 71 against a yardage of 6,759 sees to that, but there are forward tees to play from if desired.
I can’t comment on how successful this new course has been since it opened, it was certainly much quieter than the other courses on the day I played, but it is one I think you should experience if visiting St. Andrews without question.
Because of the style and nature of the course I know some people won’t take my advice and others who do may not find it to their liking. It’s certainly not a course that will be universally loved but I don’t necessarily see that as a negative. I would suggest playing this course to break up your visit and not necessarily play it as your first or final round.
Read the review of St. Andrews (Old) here.
Read the review of St. Andrews (New) here.
Read the review of St. Andrews (Jubilee) here.
Read the review of St. Andrews (Eden) here.
Read the review of St. Andrews (Strathtyrum) here.
Read the review of St. Andrews (Balgove) here.